Te Araroa Trail – Day 23
Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Distance/ Total: 25.7 km / 16.0 mi
I woke up about 5:30am and was on the trail by 6:30am. Today was supposed to be a hard day and I wanted to get an early start.
The trail started as a road walk along the Pakiri River. After about 3 km that ended and it started a steep climb up through some cow fields. The grass was wet And the cows had trampled the trail in places making it a muddy mess.
Once the trail reached the ridge, it turned to follow along a fence line. This was now through a forest and was extremely muddy, slick, and steep in places. I worked my way along the Tamahunga Track as it followed the ridge line up and down eventually peaking at Tamahunga Peak which had a weather radar on top.
The trail continued to follow the ridge line and it was slow going up and down the slopes through the slippery mud.
The trail joined Matakana Valley Road and a trail angel had left a cooler full of soda there for the hikers. There were several hikers there when I arrived and more came and each enjoyed a cold Coke or Sprite.
The road walk was short lived and the trail turned off again into a muddy two track. Still following a ridge line there were a couple of good views from the trail. As the trail continued down the two track it became muddier and more rutted making footing difficult and I fell a couple of times on the track.
The trail continued on and eventually turned off onto single track again. More slick mud, steep slopes, and now some roots thrown in for even more fun. I was getting pretty tired by this point and slowly worked my way down the trail.
I finally arrived at the last peak of the day – Dome Peak – and began my descent toward my camp at Dome Cafe. This descent was a little rockier and I scrambled down a few rock’s covered in mud. I got tripped up by a vine and fell forward down the hill. I was able to catch myself, but my pack had shifted up toward my head making it difficult to get back up. I finally got up, brushed off and continued down the trail.
I reached to campsite about 6:00pm, exhausted from the day’s hike. I setup my tent, cooked dinner, and crawled in my tent ready to get some rest.